Medically Reviewed by Dr. Aditi S.Trivedi, DNB OBGY, Fellowship in Reproductive Medicine, Reviewed on 25th January 2021
DHT is a sex hormone responsible for male characteristics such as body hair. However, excess DHT may cause hair loss in men – especially those genetically prone to male pattern baldness.
DHT is also believed to be a leading cause of baldness. DHT binds to the hormone receptors present on the hair follicles, which causes a change in the hair growth cycle and results in hair loss.
What is a DHT Blocker?
A DHT blocker is a substance or a compound that can help inhibit DHT production in the body or help stop the build-up of DHT in the scalp. DHT prohibits nutrients from getting absorbed by your hair follicles, which can block hair growth. DHT blocking foods such as tomato, green tea, spinach, flax seeds, among others, effectively reduce DHT levels in your scalp naturally.
Also Read: Natural Ayurvedic DHT Blockers
Here’s an article on everything you need to know of DHT Blockers for a more detailed understanding.
What are the common DHT Blockers?
Some of the common DHT blockers are:
DHT Blocking Foods
DHT Blocking Oils and Supplements
DHT Blocking Shampoos and Conditioners
Also Read: DHT Blocker exercise
Here’s a complete guide on DHT blocking food to naturally control & reduce DHT levels in your scalp through diet. Keep reading.
How DHT Causes Hair Loss?
Hair loss in men can happen due to a plethora of reasons. But the most common reason why their hair could be thinning or receding is related to the androgen hormone known as Dihydrotestosterone or DHT. DHT is an essential hormone in men responsible for developing male features during pregnancy and other male characteristics during the adolescent years.
DHT is produced as a byproduct of testosterone in the body of males, and it doesn’t always affect everyone. It binds to androgen receptors that are present throughout the bodies of males and affects functions like hair growth and the size of their prostate gland.
But when the hormone binds to receptors in the scalp of a male, it can often damage their hair follicles and hinder the production of new hairs. According to some research, those negatively affected by DHT are usually prone to hair loss issues and are genetically predisposed to DHT sensitivity.
However, there are several ways to treat hair loss if it is happening due to DHT, and that includes blocking DHT using some medications and taking some alternate routes such as those mentioned below.
What are the DHT Blocking Foods?
DHT Blockers exist to combat this problem. As the name suggests, it “blocks” or slows down DHT in men, thus fighting potential hair loss. Many different foods act as DHT Blockers.
The DHT blocker foods can be put into three groups:
Group 1: Foods high in Zinc- example: spinach, kale
Group 2: Lycopene rich foods- example: tomato, mango
Group 3: Lysine rich foods- example: green tea, flax seeds
Apart from these three food groups, it is also essential to ensure that you are getting adequate amounts of vitamins as vitamins play a crucial role in ensuring hair health.
These vitamins can be obtained through the list of foods mentioned below or in the form of DHT blocking vitamin supplements that can be taken orally with food. DHT blocking vitamins is another way to reduce DHT levels in the scalp naturally.
DHT Blocker Food
The functioning of slight DHT hormone is viable in females. However, if found in excess amounts, it might be concerning in aesthetic and medical aspects. People often switch to DHT blocker food to limit the production of DHT. Generally, hair loss is the most common symptom of excess DHT. Here is the DHT blocker food list to help you out:
Blueberries are one of the best DHT blocker foods for hair loss as it is rich in Vitamin C. It plays a vital role in scalp circulation. Better circulation means sufficient blood and nutrient supply to each hair strand, and Flavonoids in berries help boost this circulation. It also helps pace the hair growth stage from telogen to anagen due to the stimulation effect of proanthocyanidins in blueberries.
2. Green Tea
Green tea is the best DHT blocker food due to the presence of EGCG or epigallocatechin gallate. Studies show that EGCG helps stimulate hair follicles and the growth cycle. Moreover, green tea's Vitamin B or panthenol content helps in hair conditioning. It has polyphenolic compounds, an antioxidant that helps protect hair against internal and external damage. It supports hair growth while blocking DHT from harming the scalp and hair follicles.
Turmeric acts as natural DHT blocker food due to the high concentration of curcumin in it. Studies demonstrated that curcumin in turmeric helps lower DHT levels while blocking the conversion process or action of the alpha-5 reductase enzyme.
It also contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that help heal the damaging hair follicles and promote the hair growth cycle.
4. Pumpkin seed oil/ Pumpkin seeds
The crunching flavour of pumpkin seeds is a powerhouse of vital minerals, magnesium, zinc, iron, etc. The minute pumpkin seed contains cucurbitin, an amino acid that helps promote hair growth.
Omega3 fatty acid and L-lysine in pumpkin seeds help improve hair quality and texture. One can consume a handful of pumpkin seeds daily or toss them with salads to elevate their flavour.
The biotin content in bananas makes it a DHT blocker food as it helps restrict the conversion of testosterone into DHT. It is also a good source of potassium that helps improve the body's circulatory system. In turn, it helps enhance the nutrient supply to the hair follicles.
Bananas contain fructooligosaccharides or FOS, which help maintain healthy gut bacteria. A healthy gut helps limit the overproduction of DHT.
Edamame beans or young soybeans contain high amounts of fibre and proteins. It also comprises plant compounds, named isoflavones, that help lower DHT levels while blocking the activities of the alpha-5 reductase enzyme.
A wholesome quantity of edamame beans in your diet helps combat hair loss issues while limiting the activities of DHT hormones.
Almonds are a rich source of protein and contain biotin, and it also contains zinc and Vitamin E, vital for DHT blocking. Vitamin E helps condition and strengthen hair follicles. One can consume a handful of soaked almonds on an empty stomach for better results.
Carrots are vital for smooth, silky and lustrous hair as they are rich in vitamins A, C, K, and E, carotenes, fibre and potassium. Moreover, lycopene content makes carrots natural DHT blockers food. These essential vitamins help prevent hair loss caused due to increased DHT.
It also helps protect the hair against external damage, weather, and pollution. Consume carrots as salads or juices daily for long and shiny hair.
9. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has been used for ages in cooking as it can retain its clinical properties even at extreme temperatures. Moreover, people even use it for ages for massaging the scalp due to its nourishing features.
Coconut oil consists of linoleic acid, a fat extracted from MCT or medium-chain triglycerides. A study shows that lauric acid helps block DHT production in animals and test tubes. One can consume it while including it in daily cooking or induce topical application. However, researchers still need to research its beneficial impact on human beings.
10. Black Sesame
The composition of black sesame seeds is as follows:
- Lauric acid and lignans: 14.5%
- Linoleic acid: 41%
- Oleic acid: 39%
These elements help maintain the heart, skin and hair. Like coconut oil, one can even use sesame seed oil, which helps improve hair follicles' texture and quality. The oil consisting of linoleic acid also helps limit DHT secretion. Women can consume sesame seed laddu, which helps lower the male-dominant hormone (testosterone).
Onions have low calories, which flaunt well with main savoury dishes. It has abundant antioxidants, like quercetin. According to studies, quercetin helps limit the DHT production from testosterone, and it helps block the activities of the alpha-5 reductase enzyme and reduce oxidative stress.
Including at least 150g of onion in one's daily diet helps enhance the growth of hair follicles. Moreover, one can even apply onion seed oil to scalps to help prevent hair fall.
Tomatoes are the best DHT blocker food as it is high in DHT blocking element, lycopene. It helps inhibit the alpha-5 reductase enzyme, and antioxidants help fight cells that cause hair damage or hair fall. It is also rich in beta-carotene, which helps supply viable nutrients to the scalp. The better the nutrient circulation to the scalp, the better the hair growth.
Avocado is one of the best DHT blockers. It is rich in protein, folic acid, magnesium, iron, copper, and amino acids. These nutrients are essential for effective hair growth. The natural oil in avocado penetrates better into the cuticles, helping moisturise the hair. It has a high level of antioxidants and phytosterols that help unclog the blocked pores and stimulate hair growth. One can include avocado as a mash, salad or marinade in fish.
Also Read: Finasteride the oral DHT blocker?
How Does DHT Blocking Foods Work?
DHT-blocking food contains certain compounds that help inhibit DHT production or help prevent its accumulation around the scalp. DHT accumulation may cause hair shedding and impacts the hair growth cycle, and one can also avoid this accumulation or overproduction through medication. However, many people prefer natural ways to inhibit the action of alpha-5 reductase that converts testosterone into DHT.
In such cases, switching to DHT blocker food prevents DHT build-up, encouraging effective hair growth. It helps elevate the stagnant growth cycle due to sufficient nutrient and blood supply. Consequently, it helps prevent hair thinning and improves the quality of hair follicles.
How Do You Reduce DHT Levels With Ayurveda?
Apart from different natural DHT blockers food, Ayurvedic treatments also help lower DHT levels and treat its side effects like hair fall. Here are some Ayurvedic treatments to help you out:
1. Nasya Kriya
One of the finest solutions for preventing DHT-induced hair fall is inhaling medicated oils like black sesame oil. During Nasya Kriya, the oil enters the bloodstream through the olfactory system, and it helps change the scalp's chemical composition while binding with its receptors. Further, it helps prevent the DHT molecules from regulating these receptors, reducing hair fall.
2. Oil Massage
A warm oil massage from the one made with curry leaves and Indian gooseberry helps lower the DHT levels. Moreover, massaging improves blood circulation, regulating the nutrient flow to the scalp.
3. Hair Wash with Ayurvedic Shampoos
Several Ayurvedic shampoos are available that help reduces the DHT-induced hair fall. These products enhance blood circulation, helping widen the follicles. In turn, it helps promote thicker and stronger hair growth.
Can You Reduce DHT With Exercise?
Exercise is natural and the best way to reduce DHT levels. Many people promote yoga and cardio workouts as effective ways to reduce DHT levels, and no research claims it. It becomes contradictory whether exercise genuinely reduces DHT or not.
For instance, weight lifting increases the testosterone count in the body, which means more DHT production and hair fall. DHT hormone is one of the types of androgen that may cause hair fall. One must seek a doctor's help if food and exercise do not block the DHT action.
Other Ways to Treat Hair Loss
There are several ways one can slow down hair loss in men. For instance, studies have shown some foods contain nutrients that effectively lower DHT production. This is a niche that could provide more solutions if appropriately researched.
Medications are one way to fix this issue, with notable prescriptions being minoxidil (Rogaine) and Finasteride (Propecia). Minoxidil, a vasodilator, dilates your blood vessels, and Finasteride, a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor, blocks DHT production. But again, medications aren't supposed to work for everyone and come with many side effects.
Another way to treat the hair loss issue is to check if you have any vitamin or mineral deficiency that could result in your hair loss. The deficiency of nutrients like protein, zinc, iron, and vitamins C and A often contributes to hair loss.
But before you treat your hair loss, it’s essential to know the primary reasons behind your hair loss. It’s always a good idea to choose the appropriate treatment by setting up an appointment with a healthcare provider who can study your medical history and pinpoint any specific or underlying reasons for your hair loss.
Summing Up on DHT Blocker Foods
It is common to stress when you notice hair loss or a receding hairline. But it’s always good to know that its reasons can be traced back to DHT or other nutrient deficiencies, which can be treated considerably.
When it comes to DHT, intake of green tea, edamame, onions, pumpkin seeds, and other DHT blocker foods and beverages can lower DHT levels and prevent hair loss. Similarly, taking vitamin or mineral supplements can help the issue if hair loss happens due to their deficiency.
How Does DHT Affect Transplanted Hair?
The expert removes the hair follicles from the safe donor and permanent zone during the hair transplant process. These hair are DHT-resistant and have nothing to do with the area where it gets transplanted. Hence, there is no viable effect of DHT on transplanted hair.
How Do I Permanently Block DHT?
Apart from foods that reduce DHT and medications like Finasteride and Minoxidil, there are other ways to hinder the production of DHT in males:
- Pumpkin Seed Oil - This is one of the most effective and natural ways to inhibit DHT and has been backed up by years of research.
- Light therapy - Low-level laser light therapy (LLLT) is an indirect method of tackling DHT and inducing hair growth in men.
Is Almond Good for DHT Blockers?
Yes, almonds are the best DHT blocker food when it comes to natural DHT blockers food options. They are rich in Vitamin E that enhance the production of healthy hair strands. Again, they are rich in L-lysine, which helps in interfering with the actions of DHT.
How Much Lycopene to Block DHT?
To solve DHT-related hair loss, ensure you are consuming at least 2 portions of foods rich in lycopene daily. This, over time, will help curb lycopene production by enabling new hair follicles' growth.
How Can I Reduce DHT Naturally?
You can consume natural DHT blocker foods that reduce DHT effectively and naturally. Foods high in zinc, lycopene, and lysine are the best DHT blocker foods that naturally block DHT creation. Spinach, kale, pumpkin seeds, green tea, beetroot, banana, flax seeds are some of the best natural DHT blocker foods.
What is the Best Natural DHT Blocker?
Some of the best natural DHT blocker foods are the foods high in zinc, lycopene, and lysine, which help combat DHT and hair loss naturally and effectively by acting as a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor. Some of these natural DHT blocker foods are- tomato, mango, beetroot, spinach, white mushrooms, turmeric, boiled egg, and kale.
Also Read: Rosemary oil as a DHT Blocker
Is Blocking DHT Bad?
No, blocking DHT is not bad. On the contrary, it helps combat hair loss, androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness) and even successfully promote hair regrowth. Moreover, there hasn't been any noticeable side effects of DHT blockers. Men using DHT blocker foods or even top DHT blocker drugs haven't reported any side effects.
Does Zinc Reduce DHT?
Yes, zinc is an effective DHT blocker as it acts as an effective 5-alpha reductase inhibitor that can block the formation of DHT that causes hair loss. Moreover, it also helps regulate the hormone levels to combat hair loss. Some of the best food sources of zinc that also act as excellent foods that reduce DHT are- spinach, kale, pumpkin seeds, white mushrooms.
- Ann Dermatol, May 2016; Epigallocatechin Gallate-Mediated Alteration of the MicroRNA Expression Profile in 5α-Dihydrotestosterone-Treated Human Dermal Papilla Cells- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4884709/
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- Evid Based Complement Alternat Med; Effect of Pumpkin Seed Oil on Hair Growth in Men with Androgenetic Alopecia: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4017725/